Should You Buy a Lab Grown Diamond for Your Engagement Ring?

The Similarities and Differences Between Choosing a

Lab Grown Diamond vs a Natural Diamond For Your Engagement Ring


Over the past 5 years Lab Grown Diamonds (alternatively known as man-made diamonds) have surged in popularity with millennials for their engagement ring purchase. Millennials are the next generation getting engaged, and are more value-oriented towards something they believe in when making a significant purchase versus previous generations. Millennials care about eco-friendly and environmentally responsible issues such as preserving the earth, climate change, and the future of our planet as a whole. They care about human rights issues, thinking about society as a whole and how we can protect those who are less fortunate than ourselves. Lastly, most millennials are the first generation projected to make less money over the course of their lifetime than previous generations!

That’s why lab grown diamonds have been geared and marketed towards millennials as a great affordable alternative to natural diamonds for their engagement ring purchase. Lab grown diamonds have nearly all of the same chemical and physical properties of a natural diamond, the main difference being that they were grown inside of a laboratory under intense heat and pressure in 4-6 weeks versus naturally under the earth’s surface over the course of hundreds of millions of years. After the man made diamonds have been grown, cut and polished, they look nearly identical to that of a natural diamond in visual comparison. That along with the fact that they are approximately 30-40% less in price has made the allure of lab grown diamonds for engagement rings very attractive for new retail consumers.

So what are the negatives about using a lab grown diamond for your engagement ring? While there are many pro’s for using a lab grown diamond for an engagement ring, there are some things to consider as well.

Over the years most people have viewed buying an engagement ring with a natural diamond as a financial investment in an asset class that has historically appreciated from generation to generation. The problem with lab grown diamonds is that they are a new product without a second-hand market already waiting for it. Natural diamonds have historical value and data behind them with a market of buyers, collectors and investors who have commoditized them with tangible value and are ready to buy them at a set price any day of the week if someone wished to sell. There is no established market or commoditized value for lab grown diamonds because they are “man made” and haven’t been popular long enough in society to know what their future resale value would be. Nobody wants to think about selling their ring in the future when they are buying it for the point of love, but thinking about the future value of the asset that you are purchasing is important to consider when making the decision.

As a private jeweler who specializes in custom engagement rings, JK & Co. offers both natural diamonds and lab grown diamonds to our clients as potential options for their engagement rings. We teach our clients everything there is to know about both options and ultimately leave it up to them to decide which route they like and what is going to be the best for them. Lab grown diamonds are a great alternative to natural diamonds for custom engagement rings, but the decision is personal and has to be right for you.

If you would like to Schedule an Appointment to learn more about Lab Grown Diamond Engagement Rings please Contact Us here to learn more.

Matthew Kaufmann
What Should My Budget Be For An Engagement Ring?

When you meet the right person and know you want to spend the rest of your life with them, the next step of buying an engagement ring can be a very scary experience for most people. Buying an engagement ring is the first real piece of fine jewelry that most people make in their lives. This, combined with the fact that diamond rings can be very expensive, creates a scary feeling for most people which makes purchasing an engagement ring much more stressful than it should be.

When you ask the public how much they should spend on an engagement ring, the majority will briskly reply “three months salary” without hesitation. That is the result of decades of incredible marketing efforts by some of the largest diamond companies in the world, creating an illusion that you have to spend much more on that first big purchase than you actually need to.

The real answer to the infamous question is: There is a perfect ring for any budget.

Every person knows their finances and has an idea about how much they can actually spend on the purchase, but doesn’t know if that budget will allow them to get the beautiful ring their significant other has always dreamt about. Even the famous Elizabeth Taylor had a budget when buying jewelry, although hers may have been significantly more than most of ours.

The key is getting the most value out of the purchase is working with a custom jeweler that spends the time with you to provide education on everything there is to know about diamonds, ring designs, pricing and all of the options that you actually have. The perfect ring is not already out there in a jewelry stores showcase waiting to be selected, it should be custom made and designed for you based on what she is going to love and what you are comfortable spending. Working with a custom jeweler allows you to maximize your budget by being involved each step of the process, from personally selecting the center diamond or gem to designing the perfect ring, all the while staying within the budget you actually want to spend.

Creating and designing the perfect ring for you should be much less stressful than its cut out to be, which ultimately comes down to building a relationship and trust with the person you are working with. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and become educated. In a world where everyone is supposed to know everything because they can simply ask Google, don’t be afraid to ask a real person the questions you think might be stupid. Embrace the fact that this is one of the most exciting times in your life, and work with someone who is going to give you the respect, time and attention you deserve and ultimately create a beautiful ring with any budget you are working with.

Don’t let the experience be more scary than it already is. Find a custom jeweler you trust and start asking questions, you’ll be happy that you did.

If you would like to Schedule an Appointment to learn more about our Custom Oval Engagement Rings please Contact Us here.

Matthew Kaufmann
Oval Diamond Engagement Rings

Oval diamonds are THE shape of 2018. Their silhouette, proportions, and overall grace combine to create a diamond shape that flows with any design. With the rise of delicate solitaire engagement rings, many couples are choosing oval diamonds because of how well they pair with a minimal and dainty setting. We love this combo, and apparently so do some of the biggest celebrities!

Oval Diamonds are very popular among Celebrities...


Hailey Baldwin

Justin Bieber proposed to Haley Baldwin with an impressive Oval Diamond set in a traditional yellow gold solitaire ring. Solitaire rings are a great option for engagement rings because they can be paired with almost any wedding band. You can also stack numerous bands on each side of the ring which works whether dressing up or down.


Blake Lively

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively also decided on an Oval Diamond for their engagement ring. Her diamond is set in a delicate three-row micro pave band with tiger claw prongs. This design has become a popular reference for many new couples beginning the process of creating a custom designed engagement ring.


Katherine McPhee

Nick Cokas proposed to Katharine McPhee with a Natural Yellow Oval Diamond which is surrounded by Natural Pink Diamonds. Halo designs look amazing with Oval Diamonds, especially when the Oval has a great silhouette and overall shape to it.


Julianne Hough

Julianne Hough and Brooks Laich recently got engaged with an Oval Diamond for the center stone of their engagement ring. They designed their Solitaire ring with a classic pave accented band. This style has also been very popular for many couples this engagement season.

Another great thing about Oval Diamonds are that they face-up proportionally much larger than most other shapes when compared side-by-side. Remember that "carat" is only a measurement of weight, it doesn’t mean how large the diamond actually appears. Ovals happen to face-up much larger than other diamond shapes because most of their carat weight is located on top of the diamond, versus most of the other shapes where more weight is located towards the bottom. For example, a one carat oval diamond will always appear bigger than a one carat round diamond.

If you would like to Schedule an Appointment to learn more about our Custom Oval Engagement Rings please Contact Us here.

Matthew Kaufmann
FALL 2018: Pink Diamond Engagement Rings

Fall is finally here which means engagement season is right around the corner! Engagement ring trends are always changing, so it's important that your design represents you and your relationship. Don't stress out about what's trending on social media and try not to worry about what your best friend got, instead try to think about YOUR style and your look.

Two important questions to ask yourself when designing your engagement ring: Are we going to love this design forever? Does this style represent me? 

One of our favorite ways to create a timeless design with character is by using a natural PINK DIAMOND. Pink diamonds are incredibly beautiful, extremely rare, and very feminine. Pink diamonds can be used in almost any type of ring design, and look amazing when complimented by colorless white diamonds in bespoke engagement rings. They also look great when set in a classic solitaire engagement ring. The color of pink diamonds speak for themselves and are sure to create a buzz among your friends.

Historically known as “Engagement Season”, the holidays are a great time to be with family, friends and the ones we love. Don’t stress about making the right decision in regards to choosing the right ring - we’re here for you and happy to help guide you along the way.

If you would like to setup a consultation to learn more about our Custom Engagement Rings and how we can help please contact us here.

Pink Diamond Ring
Matthew Kaufmann
What kind of engagement ring should you buy?
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So you know that you want to get engaged, but jewelry is not your thing. The pressure that comes with buying her the right ring gives most guys extra stress that they don’t need. The thought of her not liking the ring, which you just spent a small fortune on, drives most guys to the brink of insanity. Here are a few tips that can help to ensure you get her the ring of her dreams, or close enough at least.

1) Pay attention to her style!

What kind of jewelry does she wear everyday? Most girls tend to have a look or a style that resembles their personal identity. Does she wear more accessories that are big, bold and flashy, or is her look more simplified and dainty? Does she wear more jewelry that is white, pink or yellow? Start paying attention to the jewelry she is currently wearing, from everyday simple earrings and necklaces to what she wears out with her friends on the weekends. I know that it sounds simple, but by actually paying attention to her you should be able to pick up some ideas which will help steer the search in the right direction.

2) Ask someone close to her.

If you’re totally clueless on what she would love, a great idea is to simply ask someone close to her if they can help point you in the right direction. Obviously this needs to be someone that you can trust who will not spill the beans to her and ruin the surprise, but if it’s one of her close friends or sisters that you know can keep your secret then they can be one of your best sources to find out what she is going to love. They can help by sending you pictures or ideas that they find online, from Pinterest, Google Images etc. which will give your jeweler to direction they need to start showing options that are right for you.

3) Propose with the diamond, and then design the ring together.

One of the most popular trends people are doing today is proposing with a diamond solitaire ring, and then coming back together to design her ring. Let’s face it, half of the fun in getting engaged is the surprise of how you ask her the big question. With this option, the guy buys the center diamond first and we set it in a classic solitaire for him to go propose. After the proposal, the couple comes back together and she gets to design the perfect ring for her, which could be completely different than what he would have picked in the first place. This option is great because he still gets to do the surprise, and she gets to create the dream ring she has always wanted.

If you would like to setup a consultation to learn more about Custom Engagement Rings please contact us here.

Abe Jacobs
Should I Buy a Custom Engagement Ring?
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Think about it - almost every item you purchase is mass produced; Your food, your clothing, your phone, your car, your furniture, and pretty much everything in between has been made for the masses. Buying an engagement ring is a once in a lifetime purchase; it’s an opportunity to create something that is custom for you. Something that only you own, with love and meaning behind it. As I’ve talked about before - what makes your engagement ring so special is the story behind it. 

The more thought you put into your ring, the more sentimental it becomes. Imagine if you were to buy an engagement ring online; a ring that has been manufactured overseas and is identical to tens of thousands of other engagement rings purchased from the same place. How would your partner feel knowing that the ring he or she is wearing is also being worn on countless other individuals? At what point does that ring become one-of-a-kind? When friends and family ask you about the ring - what will be your story? 

The engagement ring should be one-of-a-kind. Being able to describe the details about your engagement ring and the reasoning behind your choices are what makes the story. Some of the preliminary questions I ask my clients are to describe their partner in detail: What is their style like? What types of activities are they in to? What is their workplace like? Their overall identity is extremely important when choosing the best ring design for your loved one.

But how will you know which ring design will suit your partner the best? The answer is to get help from an expert. Finding the right jewelry designer is just as important as picking out the right engagement ring. The right jeweler should be able to ask you these questions and properly guide you to the best ring designs based on your answers. 

Building a custom engagement ring isn’t as expensive you'd think and does not mean that you will spend more than if you were to buy a pre-made ring; in many situations you will actually spend less if you were to design a ring on your own. Most jewelry experts have access to insider pricing and should be able to help you find the right diamond or gemstone to maximize your budget.

If you would like to setup a consultation to learn more about Custom Engagement Rings please contact us here.

Matthew Kaufmann
How Much Should I Spend on an Engagement Ring?

This is typically one of the first questions that our clients will ask us during a consultation, and it's a fair question to start with. They will ask; Is it three months salary? What do most people spend? Should I spend as much as my best friend spent on their ring? The best answer to all of these questions is not to think about them at all. It's about what's important to you and your loved one. Remember that you are purchasing an engagement ring because you are wanting to ask your special person to spend the rest of their life with you. Your budget should be based on what you feel comfortable spending and on a ring that you feel that your future fiancee will truly love. 

I am always reassuring my clients that you can build an amazing ring for $5,000 and you can build an amazing ring for $50,000. It's less important about how much you spend on the ring, but more important about how much thought you put into it. Remember to listen to your partner during the leading months prior to meeting with a jeweler. It's the the little things that are included in a custom design that make the biggest difference. Don't purchase ring that's already made, take your time and build one from scratch. It will mean more in the end, and your partner will appreciate the effort you put into the ring. Your story behind every detail of the ring will be what sets your engagement ring apart from the rest. Your jeweler should be able to guide you through the selection of each aspect of the engagement ring and must be able to give you a great explanation behind each aesthetic in order for you to understand what your buying.

If you would like to setup a consultation to learn more about Engagement Ring Pricing please contact us here.

Matthew Kaufmann
EngagEment Ring Talk: May Birthstone - Emeralds


There are many things to consider when purchasing an Emerald for a custom engagement ring. Below is a short summary to help kick start your search, but I highly recommend speaking with an expert before moving forward on your selection. 

Things to consider when buying an Emerald engagement ring:

  • The most desirable Emerald colors are bluish green to pure green, with vivid color saturation.
  • Expect to see inclusions in Emeralds. This happens because of the way they are formed over time. The less inclusions the higher the price.
  • Because it's density is lower, a one-carat emerald will appear larger in size than a one-carat diamond.
  • Most Emeralds have gone through a form of heat treatment to improve the color saturation, which is ok. 
  • Less valuable Emeralds have also gone through a clarity enhancement process to improve it's transparency, which is not ok. Clarity enhanced gemstones have a short life span and will fracture over time.
  • Recommended Emeralds start at around $1,000 to $2,000 per carat, and go up from there. Because Emeralds appear larger than their carat weight it's more important to focus on the dimensions rather than the weight.

If you would like to setup a consultation to learn more about Emerald Engagement Rings please contact us here.

Matthew Kaufmann
Should I Buy a Pear Shape Diamond EngagEment Ring?


Yes, Pear Shaped Diamonds, also known as "Tear Drops" are one of our biggest requests this May in Santa Monica. Pear Shapes were first introduced in the 1400' by Lodewyk van Berquem, a diamond cutter responsible for major improvements of the symmetry and placement of facets in many popular diamond cuts. The cut is a combination of an Oval Shaped Diamond and a Marquise Cut Diamond. 

Pear Shaped Diamonds are great for Engagement Rings. They are classic, and have an elongated profile adding a touch of elegance to any design. Because of their unique proportions, most Pear Shapes will appear much larger in size than many other diamond shapes. A large portion of the carat weight is on the top half of the diamond making it appear slightly bigger than it's carat weight.

When designing a ring, it's very important to consider your hands and your fingers. Pear Shapes are great for women with longer fingers. Pear Shapes are a fancy shape which means that GIA does not offer a cut grade for these types of diamonds. Pear Shapes can be found in an infinite amount of length-to-width ratios, the most popular being between 1.50–1.75:1. Some are longer and more narrow, some are shorter with larger shoulders, choosing the right Pear Shape ratio depends on your specific wants for the design.

If you would like to setup a consultation to learn more about Pear Shape Engagement Rings please contact us here.

Matthew Kaufmann
New Trend Alert! Teal Sapphires


Selecting a gemstone for your engagement ring is very common in today's bridal ring designs. Many couples are choosing to opt-out of the tradition Diamond engagement ring, and instead pick a vibrant colored gemstone of their choice. The best part is that you don't have to pick your standard Green Emerald or Red Ruby, you can pick any hue of gemstone you please. In 2018 we have noticed a large interest in Teal Sapphires. The color of this Sapphire is a slight greenish blue, which is very similar to an Alexandrite. 

The great part about Sapphires are that they rank a 9 on the MOHS Scale. This is very important because it means that this particular gemstone is more durable than most other gemstones, and has a stronger probability of staying intact throughout the wear and tear of everyday life. You can find these sapphires in most shapes and carat weights. Most commonly, you will find this gemstone cut into a Round, Oval or Cushion. We recommend setting a Teal Sapphire in White Gold or Platinum - the combination is stunning!

If you would like to setup a consultation to learn more about Sapphire Engagement Rings please contact us here.

Matthew Kaufmann
Push Present Gift Ideas

What Is A Push Present?
Nowadays it's very common to gift a loved one shortly after they have given birth. This gift carries a lot of significance because it creates a family heirloom with a specific meaning behind it. Once given that piece of jewelry will always represent an important experience in time. But what should you choose as a good push present?

Birthstone Right Hand Rings
One of the best ways to incorporate the birth of a newborn in your Push Present would be to design a ring around the baby's birthstone. Most birthstones are very affordable and when set in a traditional diamond setting are very attractive. It's best to plan this gift within a few weeks of the expected due date. 

Aquamarine Engagement Ring

Birthstone Pendants
You can never go wrong with a gemstone pendant. A simple bezel set birthstone, dangling on a delicate gold chain, is bound to get a lot of attention. A pendant like this can be worn everyday for any occasion.


Stackable Diamond Eternity Band
You can never have enough diamond bands. Stacking is a fun way to show your off your personality through your hands. A great way to turn an eternity band into a Push Present is to replace a single diamond with the child's birthstone.

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Diamond & Gemstone Cocktail Earrings
An important pair of earrings is always a great gift, especially when you add a child's birthstone into the mix. Choosing to buy a pair of cocktail earrings kills two birds with one stone. You checked off the box for fun dangle earrings, and at the same time you are able to gift an amazing push present symbolizing a special newborn.

Matthew Kaufmann
5 Engagement Ring Trends for Summer 2018


Solitaire Engagement Rings
Solitaire diamond rings have been around forever and have never really gone out of style. However, we have been noticing a strong trend in the majority of couples coming in and asking to look at these style. Solitaires are a great choice because they put the emphasis of the design on the center stone. Another benefit to this design is that you won't have to allocate a lot of your budget to the setting. Since a solitaire doesn't have any accent diamonds you can use the majority of your budget on the center stone.

Two-Tone Settings
Two-Tone ring designs are a great choice if you like something classic, but you also like a would like a touch of color. By keeping the prongs and basket of the ring in white gold or platinum you are safeguarding the colorless hue of your diamond. We are seeing more couples designing this ring with a platinum head and a rose gold band.

Bezel Settings
For the bold, this ring design is not only modern but it is one of the safest ways to set a diamond. Coverings the edge of the entire diamond you can ensure that the girdle will be less likely chip, and it gives the ring a distinct outline of the shape of the center stone.

Basket Halos
This design is a great transition from the "Halo Era" to today. By placing a row of accent diamonds on the pavilion side of the diamond it keeps the overall aesthetic of a classic solitaire when viewed face-up, but when you turn the ring on it's side you get to enjoy a surprise burst of brilliance.

Engagement Eternity Bands
In 2018 there are no more rules for engagement ring designs. We like what we like. A lot of people have active lifestyles or they work in fields that won't permit a tall center diamond. If this sounds like you an important eternity band could be a good choice. Most often our clients will design an eternity band with a little more weight when going with this option.

Matthew Kaufmann
Does the Color of a Diamond Affect the Brilliance or Sparkle? The Importance of the Cut Grade:

A common misunderstanding that we hear from our clients is that they assume a diamond which is lower on the diamond color scale will have less sparkle or brilliance than a diamond which is higher on the color scale. However, this perception of color relating to the fire of a diamond is not always true.

The brilliance of a diamond is most closely related to it's cut grade. The cut grade of a round brilliant diamond starts at poor and goes up to excellent. An excellent cut is the highest cut grade given by GIA. As you move up the cut grade scale the diamond will begin to have more life, more brilliance, and more fire. A round diamond with an excellent cut grade has the most even pattern of bright and dark areas, and scores in the top category for all grade-setting determinants such as weight ratio, durability, polish, and symmetry.

Image Courtesy of GIA

Image Courtesy of GIA

You have to keep in mind that out of the "4 Cs" the cut grade is typically the hardest for consumers to grasp. The cut grade is something that is best understood when seen in person, and when comparing diamonds side by side. Our clients will often try and teach themselves online but they won't completely grasp the importance until seeing a real diamond close up. You must remember that a diamond is very similar to mirror. As light comes into a diamond, each facet (individual cuts on a diamond) will display it's own individual reflection of the world around it. 

When viewing a diamond for the first time face-up, it's important that you start your inspection from an arm's length and slowly bring the diamond closer to your eye. As the diamond gets closer, you will begin to see more of it's shadows or dark patterns. This happens because the diamond is reflecting the environment around it, as well as your own reflection. Shadows on a diamond can also be seen in photographs or videos because the diamond is reflecting the camera. So when you're taking a picture of a diamond for the first time don't be worried if it seems to be a little dark in certain areas. 

At the end of the day there are many factors that play a role in a diamond's overall brilliance. If a sparkly diamond is important to you, then remember to choose a diamond with a very good or an excellent cut grade. 

If you have anymore questions please feel free to contact us here

Matthew Kaufmann